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A chance encounter with Grissald Grissalski in Cheltenham

Sunday 14th

Dear Marmaduke,
I happened to run into Grissald Grissalski today at Cheltenham. Having always vowed that since the incident in Nairobi I would keep a discreet distance, the opportunity to question him on the connection between the ancient artifacts and this Gunter fellow seemed fortuitous. Although he had just returned from a commission tutoring the children of the oldest seated royal family in Europe, he was again penniless and living in a run down Jacobean mansion with some wealthy heiress who kept him in food, drink and oil paints. I always remember his Russian – Prussian and Bulgarian lectures on the virtues of turpentine.Marmaduke, do you remember his single most impressionable advice that he gave to us in our short but heady period under his expert guidance. “Never judge an artist buy his paintings, but always by the state of his brushes”! That inspiration has carried me through many a sitting as I curiously fixed my gaze on the side table for days, and then refused to even look at the finished portrait!He was pleased to see me and ventured a conversation in broken English for a change.Apparently this Gunter Schnippe is obviously a preposterous pseudonym as by way of terse research found through the google almanac he turned out to be “-” a fellow famed for his collection of ‘Automata-Sexualle’. He also apparently composed scores for adult orientated cinema, I dare say the dirty fellow damn well stars in them! I’ll let you know the nature of these events in due course. As usual, if you do not hear from me by the agreed time – see to the arrangements and publish the photographs in one of those sordid little dailies!

Yours PK

A chance encounter with Mungo ZarZar & His Gypsy Violin

Mungo Zarzar – gypsy violinist ’The Amazing Mungo ZarZar and his Gypsy Violin’ the poster proudly proclaimed, as if Mungo’s violin had some sort of equal billing alongside that of his own. Or was indeed possessed of some special dark magic power which rendered it a performing entity in it’s own right. I had first met Mungo in a small Parisian café near Sacré-Cœur in a late night/ early morning drink in following a rowdy night with some chorus girls from the Follies Bergier. Egged on largely by his own alter-ego he reluctantly thou quickly retrieved his violin from a case under the table. Taking it from what appeared to be a camel skin covered case, lined in some equally hairy skin surfaced dirty interior, he flicked a gold coin across the body of his beloved instrument each bounce catching a string and sounding a note, which he then proceeded to tune in a second, before catching the coin between his equally resplendent gold teeth to a rapturous, exited and down right inebriated audience applause. That was just his opener! He was rumored to be related to the great Paganini himself, but given his predisposition for self publicity and a legend in his own lunchtime, that may have been gypsy spin. Certainly his trousers were as tight as old Nic and the ladies swooned and fell faint at the friction, pace and apparently sparks which flew from his bow in an unworldly and intoxicating dexterity of tritons and harmonics only audible by the outside canine circles rummaging through yesterdays Poulet au vin blanc. He struck a pose, feet astride and chuckled to himself a strangely international chuckle derived from his native territory which ranged from eastern Europe to the Caspian Mountain ranges and down as far as North Africa. Indeed another rumor had it that he had fathered some six hundred and sixty six children along the various shifting borders and spice routes he and his Romany band had traveled since he began playing at the age of 2. He stopped at that number for two reasons, the first for obvious anecdotal and mythological reasons and the second due to an accident while performing a stunt where he rode two horses astride – one foot on each, while playing the violin, ending the performance when both horses failed to stop at the rehearsed point and ran either side of a Bedouin Tent spike.